Samarthan Bhopal and UNFPA jointly organised an Experience Sharing Workshop on the Use of Data in planning and monitoring on 19th December 2012.
Participation of the community is important for effective planning for development. The beneficiaries of government programmes must be motivated to participate in its planning, implementation and monitoring. The state government has been making considerable progress in this area and the efforts of Madhya Pradesh for ensuring decentralized planning have been appreciated at the national level. This point was highlighted by Mr. Babulal Jain, the Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Commission during an experience sharing workshop on ‘Use of Data for Planning and Monitoring of Development Programmes’ organized by UNFPA, State Planning Commission and non-profit organization Samarthan. The workshop involved the sharing of experiences and learnings that emerged from for district-level statistical officers and data managers held at regular intervals over the past three years. In addition to the past trainees, officials associated with the joint convergence programme of United Nations and the Government of India were also present.
Dr. P. R. Deo, the MP state representative of UNFPA observed that Madhya Pradesh is the first state in India to have implemented the second phase of this training programme that involves a refresher course for the statistical officers and data managers trained during the first phase. He pointed out that there is no dearth of resources for development – what is required is optimum utilization of these resources. And in this analysis of grassroots data plays an important role. Mr. Amit Anand, state Programme Manager of UNDP concurred and added that MP will continue to pioneer efforts of decentralization if data is managed effectively. Mr. Rakesh Munshi, advisor to State Planning Commission emphasized the importance of convergence between various departments when it comes to data collection, use and validation. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Yogesh Kumar, the Executive Director of Samarthan.
During the day-long workshop, trainees from various districts shared with the mentors how they had applied the learnings from the training programme to their work. Trainees from five districts of the state viz. Rajgarh, Chhatarpur, Mandla, Satna and Khargone had participated in the training programme. Mr. Babulal Jain hopes that the training programme can be expanded to all the districts of the state.
About the Data Planning & Monitoring Training-
The concept of the Sharing Workshop emerged with the Training to data managers on use of data for Planning that started in 2010, and was designed by faculty of International Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai.
This was followed by a Refreshers Training in 2012 and the effort ended with the Mentoring support in last quarter of 2012. The feedback from the participants revealed that these Refreshers Trainings have helped them in analysing data for making the district plans better, helped in implementing these plans efficiently and also evaluating the outcomes more effectively. The participant also preferred to have a long-term relationship with the faculty members of the 2010 and 2012 Trainings, so that recent developments in the subject reach them and problems faced by them could be discussed. This need of participants also mirrors the concept of a Mentoring Group thought by Samarthan and UNFPA.
We are pleased to share with you another result of our advocacy efforts. The Madhya Pradesh M.P. High Court has taken cognizance of the Public Interest Litigation on the constitution of Mohalla Samitis filed by Samarthan. On 19th Nov., the honorable court and issued notices to the State Government of Madhya Pradesh as well as Municipal Corporation Bhopal, asking them to file their reply within 2 weeks.
Samarthan had filed the PIL against the inaction of public authorities in complying with the provisions of 74th Constitutional Amendment which envisages people’s participation in urban administration. Advocate Shreyas Dubey appearing on the behalf of Samarthan informed the bench that the M. P. Govt. had enacted Madhya Pradesh Nagar Palika Mohalla Samiti (Constitution, Functions and Procedure for Conduct of Business) Rules, 2001, which mandates the constitution of Mohalla Samitis. Subsequently, these Rules were repealed twice by the State Government which led to change in norms and conditions for constitution of Samitis. However, it came as a shock when an Right to Information application filed by Samarthan revealed that no such Mohalla Samitis had ever been constituted.
Samarthan is undertaking a training programme for Peer Educators in partnership with the UNFPA and the NYKS with the objective of developing life skills among adolscents and discussing ways to cope up with changes in their growing years.
An important part of the training is the Social Mobilization camp in which the Peer Educators are encouraged to take part in the community mobilization thereby identifying the problems in the villages related to sanitation and hygeine, social security pension, baisc amenities, Aanganwadi etc and solving them.
Samarthan organized a two-day state-level consultation workshop on 6th and 7th September, with the objective of maximizing the outreach of our best practices in child-centric WASH. With the larger goal of influencing policy on child-centric WASH, the workshop also aimed to come up with recommendations on the National Policy for Children, 2012 that has been floated for people’s perspectives. During the workshop, Samarthan took the opportunity to share its processes, approaches and outcomes on CR-WASH project interventions with the civil society organizations (CSOs) working on child rights and on water & sanitation issues in Madhya Pradesh.
Samarthan’s Child-rights based WASH Initiative -
In 2009, Samarthan embarked on the project titled ‘Claiming Rights of Children to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene’. While Save the Children Finland (SCF) was our resource partner, WaterAid India supported with its domain expertise. The project is being implemented in 16 Gram Panchayats of the Sehore District of Madhya Pradesh covering 22 villages.
The main focus of the present project is to approach WASH from a child-rights perspective with the objective of mainstreaming the special needs and concerns of children, who are the most vulnerable, yet the most voiceless stakeholders when it comes to WASH.
The workshop was attended by over 40 participants comprising representatives of CSOs and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). During the inaugural session, Dr. Yogesh Kumar, Executive Director, Samarthan presented a background of the project by highlighting that In Madhya Pradesh not even half of the habitations have access to 40 litre per capita of water, the accepted norm for rural areas. He also emphasized that the situation is equally grim in terms of sanitation facilities; almost 91% of rural households do not have access to any form of toilets and 89 per cent do not have a bathing unit as per the Census 2011 data and that many regions in the state are affected by high content of fluoride, nitrate and iron in groundwater. Next, Mr. Binu Arickal, Program Officer, WaterAid, Bhopal in his address said that child-rights based WASH interventions can be made sustainable only through policy-level change and by building the capacities of the community. Ms. Seema Jain, the coordinator of Samarthan’s child-rights based WASH programme detailed the strategy, the process and the outcomes of the programme. According to Ms. Seema, first a baseline survey was conducted to get a sense of the realities on the ground. Next, the project team realized the need to build a cadre of youth who could connect with children and act as a communication medium between the project team and the children. The team started handpicking youth who had demonstrated enthusiasm and interest during their meetings with the community and constituting them into support groups. It was these support groups that played an instrumental role in making duty bearers in various institutions i.e. the Panchayat, VHSCs, Aanganwadis and Parent Teacher Assocations accountable, building capacities of the children and ensuring meaningful dialogue with the children.
The chief guest of the event was Mrs. Nirmala Buch, President Child Rights Observatory. In her speech she said that there should be ample voice for children who are the future citizens of the country. She also emphasized that the efforts for ensuring child-rights based WASH will be successful only if there is zero tolerance in this area. Thereafter, representatives of various CSO aired their concerns in front of the chief guest. Mr. Devendra from Dharti said that the agenda for Gram Sabhas is prepared at Bhopal level as a result of which WASH is seldom a priority for Panchayats. He emphasized the decentralization of Panchayat activities. Mr. Bhupendra from Datia emphasized that the problem should be look at in totality – if the school teachers are not regular to school they will not ensure timely cleaning of the toilets.
After lunch, the participants were divided into four groups and were taken to two villages i.e. Titora and Magarkheda of the Sehore district for exposure visits. During the exposure visits each team held discussions with community members with a view to understand the works carried out pertaining to child-rights based WASH.
The second day of the workshop began with presentations by the participants on the learnings from the exposure visit of the first day. The team that had visited village Titora said that the women and children there were quite vocal about their WASH-related concerns. Mr. Mahesh, a participant from Balaghat reported that he found the Village Health and Sanitation Committee was very sensitive to children’s WASH rights. According to him, the programme of ‘Khush-haal bachpan’ was integrated during the Gram Sabha. The representatives from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) reported there was good awareness among the people of Titora about Flouride content in water and they had also made a complaint to the concerned department.
One of the participants, Mr. Kamlesh Patidar who had visited village Magarkheda found limited participation of women and children in expressing their views about WASH. However, he noted that children were well aware of good hygiene practices. Mr. Irshad, another participant suggested that instead of a Bal Suchna Patal (a notice board for children to write their complaints on), a complaint box would be more effective in conveying the concerns of the children.
Mr. Binu Arickal, Program Officer, WaterAid, Bhopal also gave his feedback based on the visit to the project villages. He expressed satisfaction over the inclusion of Khushhaal Bachpan programme in the Gram Sabha but called for more efforts on the 18 points of the programme. He observed that the extensive child-rights based programme water stagnation was still a problem in Titora village and needs to be looked into.
Mr. Shobhit Jain, Managing Director of the Rajya Shiksha Kendra talked about administration’s steps to ensure proper sanitation in schools so that it does not become an impediment towards the achievement of Right to Education. He informed that toilet construction in all toilets will be ensured very soon. DIET will undertake inspection of schools to assess the condition of WASH facilities. Integration with NREGA programme will be undertaken for construction of boundary walls around schools. In addition, WASH concerns will be integrated into School Development Plans.
With a view to encourage women’s leadership and people’s participation in Water Users Associations (WUA), Samarthan has organized 25 district-level workshops in various districts of Chhattisgarh under the Awareness Campaign for Women Empowerment and Participation supported by Chhattisgarh Irrigation Development Project (CIDP) and ADB the campaign.
el workshops and the suggestions of the CIDP, Samarthan supported the state WUAs federation in organizing a state-level workshop on 28 and 29 August 2012. The workshop was graced by the Honorable Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Dr. Raman Singh. This workshop provided a platform from the WUAs and the farmers to air their problems in front of the Chief Minister, the State Water Resources Minister Ramvichar Netam and officials of the Water Resources Department, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh. Representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) also participated in the workshop. After a long discussion Mr. Kailash Gupta, President, WUA Batouli was elected as the President of State Level WUA Federation.
During the closing ceremony, the newly-elected President submitted a wish-list to the Chief Minister who announced the expansion of the project area and the project period of the Chhattisgarh Irrigation Development Project.
Samarthan and PRIA organized a workshop on ‘Strengthening Civil Society Voices on Urban Poverty in Madhya Pradesh’ was organized on 18th September 2012. With 55 participants representing the government, academics, CSOs and beneficiaries of urban housing projects from Bhopal and Jabalpur, the workshop had sessions on topics ranging from ‘Urban Poverty’ to ‘Rajiv Awas Yojana’ and from ‘Citizen’s Voices’ to ‘ Civil Society Action’. The eminent speakers at the workshop included Mr. Manoj Rai, PRIA, Dr Shyam Singh, Samarthan, Dr. Binayak Choudhari- School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, Dr. M M Mishra, DUAD and Kamlesh Bhatnagar, UADD, MP. For detailed proceedings, click here.
In Sehore, a district which has been blazing the trail for effective implementation of Panchayati Raj in the state, Sarpanches and Secretaries demonstrated disinclination towards Social Audit on MGNREGA in the 15th August Gram Sabha. Despite this reluctance, wherever Social Audits were conducted, a number of problems being faced by the laborers were highlighted and several corruption cases came to light. While in Jahangirpura, the Sarpanch and the Secretary fled from the Gram Sabha, in Khandwa Panchayat the Secretary refused to record the proceedings related to MGNREGS. In Raipur Nayakheda, the Panchayat Office remained closed.
Gram Sabha is used as an opportunity to discuss various programmes of rural development including the Social Audit of the implementation of the MGNREGA. A number of NGOs reviewed the process of Social Audit during the 15th August Gram Sabha – mandatorily conducted as per the the Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act. Samarthan ran a campaign for facilitating the Social Audit process in 10 districts of the state viz. Sehore, Dhar, Badwani, Jhabua, Panna, Satna, Rewa, Jabalpur, Seoni and Damoh. Under the campaign, one master trainers for every three Panchayats and two youth facilitator for every Panchayat were trained in the process of Social Audit. The youth facilitators were provided with MGNREGA-related data for their respective Panchayats. Based on this data, the youth facilitators had carried out discussions with villagers for coming up with issues for Social Audit. Samarthan reviewed the Gram Sabhas both in villagers with facilitators and in villages without facilitators. It was seen that in villages without facilitators the social audit process did not take place at all. On the other hand, in villages where facilitators were present, the social audit process did take place but the Sarpanches and Secretaries kept evading the process. Despite this, because of the intervention of the facilitators, social audit brought to light many administrative irregularities and the problems being faced by laborers.
Samarthan’s staff was deployed all across the district on 15th August in order to observe the Gram Sabha process. In Thunakala Gram Panchayat, Social Audit on MGNREGS issues was not carried out. The number of women attending the Gram Sabha was quite high but most of them raised the issues of Indira Awas Yojna and Social Security pensions. In Raipur Nayakheda Panchayat, Gram Sabha didn’t take place at all and the Panchayat office remained locked. At 10 a.m. itself, the attendance register showed 11.30 a.m. as the time of arrival of participants and their signatures. In Jahangirpura, the Gram Sabha began quite late. However soon the quorum was complete and a Social Audit was conducted; instead of participating the Social Audit, the Sarpanch and the Secretary fled from the scene, fearing a no-confidence motion. In Khandwa Panchayat, the Sarpanch and the Secretary agreed to participate in the Social Audit but, in order to avoid any action against them, failed to make an official record of the irregularities that were pointed out by the villagers.